“I hope this prize will incite thousands of British women to take close-up photos of their lovers’ bodies in all states of array and disarray.” Literary Review calls out the year’s most abominable sex scene.
At The Awl, Noah Davis provides an honest overview of how difficult it can be to earn – or fail to earn – a living from freelance internet writing. Perhaps would-be freelancers should take a cue from Ian Hamilton’s 1998 London Review of Books essay in which he espoused the benefits – or perils – of accepting prizes and other literary subsidies.
Pulitzer winner Tony Horwitz describes – in incredibly depressing fashion – his experience publishing Boom, a digital short representing his first foray into “the brave new world” of digital publishing. Two takeaways for aspiring writers that are not explicitly mentioned, however: don’t write without a contract, and be sure to use an agent from the get-go.
Jonathan Franzen’s 2011 Kenyon commencement speech, published this weekend in the New York Times, covers love, consumerism, and narcissism in the digital age. If you’re concerned with critical reception, looks like you’re not a creator of “serious art and literature,” in Franzen’s eyes.
New this week is Marilynne Robinson’s collection of essays When I Was a Child I Read Books. Also out are Arcadia by Lauren Groff, The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits, and The Reconstructionist by Nick Arvin. Finally, the collected writings of the late and beloved critic John Leonard, Reading for My Life, is now out.
Over at Bloom today, a lively Q&A with Charles McNair, whose Pickett’s Charge was the subject of Kevin Hartnett’s recent review here. In particular, McNair takes us through the harrowing blow by blow of his road to publication, the “sophomore jinx story” from a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author.